Underwater video from Indonesia wrongly linked to recent Japan earthquake

By: Rajini KG
January 2 2024

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Underwater video from Indonesia wrongly linked to recent Japan earthquake

Screenshot of the social media posts linking the viral video to the recent earthquake in Japan. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

This video shows earthquake tremors captured by a group of divers in the Banda Sea in Indonesia in November 2023. The video is unrelated to Japan.

Claim ID a2451cc0

What’s the claim?

At least 48 people have been killed in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that hit Japan on New Year’s Day triggering a tsunami warning. Many aftershocks were also observed following the earthquake, 7.6 in magnitude, which destroyed many buildings, left many homes without power, and forced many residents along the coastal regions of Ishikawa, Niigata, and Toyama prefectures to flee.

Amid such developments, a video of an earthquake being observed underwater was shared online with the claim that it captured the moment the quake struck Japan. An X (formerly Twitter) user shared the video with a caption in Spanish, which roughly translates to: “JAPAN The strong #terremoto of 7.6 as experienced from the depths of the sea in #Japón with the epicenter in the prefecture of #Ishikawa, in total 21 earthquakes have been reported in 90 minutes and strong waves in several areas.” The video shows some divers around a reef who are soon seen coping with a sudden duststorm underwater. The post (archived here) had received more than 57,500 views at the time of publishing. An archived version of a similar post making can be viewed here.

Screenshots of the viral social media posts. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video is unrelated to Japan’s recent earthquake.

Here are the facts

Through a reverse image search, we found that the same video was shared by ‘BERITA BALI CHANNEL’, a Bali-based media channel, on YouTube on November 14, 2023. It was captioned: “Earthquake at the bottom of the Banda Sea M7.2.” Australian news channel ‘7News Australia’ had also posted the same video on November 14, 2023, with the caption, “Scuba divers capture underwater earthquake.”

Screenshot of  the YouTube video shared by 'BALI NEWS CHANNEL.' (Source: YouTube/Screenshot)

After the video was shared online, scuba diver Roy R Tumpia posted the viral video from his Instagram handle ‘@itamkongbagaram’ and claimed he captured it on November 8, 2023, when a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit the Banda Sea in Indonesia. He wrote, “On 08 November 2023, at 13.11 local time, a M7.2 earthquake occurred in the Banda Sea (Nil Desperandum), at that time we were diving on our second dive with a boat trip. It lasted quite a long time and almost 1 minute of shaking in the water occurred! (roughly translated from Indonesian).” He added that no one was injured during the incident. Logically Facts has contacted Tumpia for more details and this fact-check will be updated if and when we receive a response.

Screenshot of the Instagram post shared by scuba diver Roy R Tumpia. (Source: Instagram/Screenshot)

According to Kompas, an Indonesian newspaper, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the Banda Sea on November 8, 2023, caused a small tsunami in Damar, Southwest Maluku, and Banda in Central Maluku, and many other places in the Southeast Asian island country. 

The verdict

A video of scuba divers capturing an earthquake observed under the Banda Sea in Indonesia was shared as a visual of the recent earthquake in Japan. The video was captured in 2023 and is unrelated to Japan. Therefore, we mark this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before